"MODERN MERCHANDISING BEGINS WITH A MODERN STORE"
THE KAWNEER COMPANY. Machines for Selling. Niles, Michigan: Kawneer Company, circa 1948. Large, oblong folio (18 by 24 inches), original blue paper wrappers, original morocco portfolio with snap tab. $2500.
First edition of this early guide to modernist architecture and design for retail, profusely illustrated with drawings and diagrams.
"In the early 1940s, the Kawneer storefront company invited architects Ketchum, Gina & Sharp to remodel a full block of old commercial buildings along main street in Niles, Michigan, home of the company's plant; this new architectural firm was not ashamed to incorporate bold graphics. Store after store received the open-front treatment in the firms 1944 proposal… Most of the storefront designs suggested a first story composed entirely of glass, with either a side wall or ceiling plane projecting beyond this glazing, like freestanding panels, out over the sidewalk. Free-floating display cases, some as low as coffee tables, rested in the void between the sidewalk and entrance. New wall sign lettering, significantly larger than the old and displaying great variety from business to business, announced the purpose of this design approach: to be accessible, appealing, and profitable. These were machines for selling, as the Kawneer ads for that year trumpeted. In 1948, Ketchum had produced enough work to publish a book that included his many drawings for proposed stores that emphasized large, recessed lobbies and angled sign panels… Ketchum's storefront designs, including his love for creative lettering and graphics carefully integrated with the design whole… enjoyed constant media exposure" (Treu, Signs, Streets, and Storefronts: A History of Architecture and Graphics Along America's Commercial Corridors, 165). Machines for Selling includes tabbed sections on Drugs, Foods, Jewelry, Furniture, Hardware and Appliances, Women's Apparel, Men's Clothing, Shoes, Variety Stores, Restaurants, Service Stores, Sporting Goods, Theatres, Flowers, and Candies. Stamp of the Buffalo Plate & Window Glass Corp on front wrapper.
Interior fine, mild toning and wear to fragile paper wrappers, wrappers separating from original portfolio; portfolio with rubbing and soiling. An extremely good copy.